Evaluation of foliar fungal endophyte diversity and colonization of medicinal plant Luehea divaricata (Martius et Zuccarini)
Filho,Celso J R
Endophyte microorganisms are organisms that live inside plants without causing any apparent damage to their hosts. Since all plants exhibit endophyte microorganisms, it is believed that mutual association is of great importance in nature. Luehea divaricata (Martius & Zuccarini), known popularly in Brazil as agoita-cavalo, is a big-sized tree with a wide distribution in the country that possesses medicinal qualities for: dysentery, leucorrhea, rheumatism, blennorrhoea, tumors, bronchitis, and depuration. This research aims at isolating and molecularly characterizing fungi isolates from L. divaricata by sequence analysis of ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 rDNA. Further, the colonization of endophyte in the host plant by Light and Scanning Electron Microscopy will also be investigated. Whereas, genera Alternaria, Cochliobolus, Diaporthe, Epicoccum, Guignardia, Phoma, and Phomopsis, were identified; rDNA sequence analysis revealed intra-species variability among endophyte isolates of the genus Phomopsis sp. Light and Scanning Electron Microscopy techniques showed the presence of endophyte fungi inside L. divaricata leaves, inhabiting inter- and intra-cellular spaces. These types of extensive colonization and dissemination were reported throughout all the leaf parts in palisade parenchyma, esclerenchyma, spongy parenchyma, adaxial epidermis, and vascular bundle indicating colonization of endophytes in múltiple structural sub-niches in the host plant.